You are at the web site of Unit 203 of the American Contract Bridge League, the Southern Michigan Bridge Association (SOMBA). Welcome. SOMBA supervises and works to promote bridge in southeastern Michigan.  SOMBA hosts several tournaments each year, including the Valentine Sectional in February, the Wolverine Regional in May, the Apple Cider Sectional in November and the Spooktakular 0-199er Sectional in October.  The unit also produces The SOMBA Echo, a newsletter keeping its members informed of current events and milestones in the area along with articles on bridge bidding and play. SOMBA, in conjunction with The Michigan Bridge Association (Unit 137) also produces a Bridge Directory listing the members of each unit and the active bridge clubs in the area.

Apple Cider Sectional
November 10th to 13th
Bridge Connection
 Southfield, MI

Click here for flyer
Valentine Sectional
February 9th to 12th
Bridge Connection
  Southfield, MI

Flyer to follow
Michigan State Sectional
March 23rd to 26th
Bridge Connection
  Southfield, MI

Flyer to follow.
Springtacular I/N Sectional
April 7th to 8th
Birmingham Unitarian Church
Bloomfield Hills, MI

Flyer to follow.

Keeping You Informed

2016 Spooktacular Results

Pairs Morning 10/28
  • A N/S -Carrie Osborne/Maria Conti
  • A E/W- Doug Hauke/Thomas Broyles
  • B N/S-Jean Hellekjaer/Carol Resnick
  • B E/W-Larry and Barbara Schiff
Pairs Afternoon 10/28
  • A N/S-Nancy Spence/John Grant
  • A E/W-Joan Roberts/Leona Beldhuis
  • B N/S-Julian Prince/Steven Miller
  • B E/W-Anita Smokevitch/Gay Garcia
2 Session Overall
  • 1st-Carrie Osborne/Maria Conti
  • 2nd-Nancy Spence/John Grant
  • 3rd-Karen Stankard/Cathy Weissenborne
Swiss 10/29
  • 1st- Cathy Weissenbourne/Karen Stankard/Sheri Rotenberg/Miriam Forman
  • 2nd- Gay Garcia/Connie Chapp/Pam Radike/Mary Jo Campbell
  • 3rd- Joyce Jonik/Maria Conte/Carrie Osborne/Jim Korte

Unfriendly Clubs?
by Dave Fletcher

Recently I have heard the term “unfriendly club”. It is my belief that all our local clubs are working very hard to make their clubs a fun and pleasurable place to play. Unfortunately, perhaps our membership contains some unfriendly people. What to do? What to do?

Personally I know our club directors are working hard to eliminate zero tolerance issues with strong reprimands/penalties and even location bans. But what do we do about the grumps and behavior that makes the experience at the table less than ideal but not bad enough to be a zero tolerance call? Partly because it is my nature and partly because it makes a glaring contrast, I go out of my way to be very, very friendly. Nice hellos, compliments on their play, nice good byes. This in some way must make them think what a contrast this is to their demeanor!! It’s time to make them uncomfortable.

The bridge gods will decide what cards you get and your skill and luck will determine your success. But as a director I have seen scrambling to get table 3 to avoid playing table 1. Not because they are good players but because they are unpleasant. Pretty sad.

How about this “you know you are much better looking when you smile!” or “you know – people who laugh live longer”. Bottom line the grumps are not going to change with out some help. It’s up to us to push for change. I am spreading the rumor that people who smile get more slam hands- who’s to say it doesn’t work until you try it!

SOMBA Board Meeting
Tuesday August 23, 2016

Home of: Satish Shah, 43284 Westphalia Ct, Sterling Hts, MI 48314 

6:00 PM (Pizza Dinner)
6:30 PM Bring Meeting to Order
9:00 PM Adjournment:

The agenda will include an open forum for guest SOMBA members In order for us to properly plan, please advise Dave Fletcher or Deepak Dighe prior to August 20th of your expected attendance and topic if you wish to address the Board. 

Dave Fletcher, 586-786-0811
Deepak Dighe, 248-345-1444

Church Games Temporarily Move to Masonic Lodge

The Unitarian Church on Lone Pine and Woodward is undergoing renovations.  Until further notice the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday bridge games usually held at the church will be held at the Masonic Lodge, 37357 Woodward (corner of Chesterfield and Woodward.)  The Masonic Lodge is a short distance south of Lone Pine, and is next to the Mormon Church. Parking is in the back.  The operators of those games apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to returning to their normal location as soon as the renovations are complete.

Another Successful Wolverine Regional

The annual Wolverine Regional was held at the Costick Activities Center in Farmington Hills from May 9th through May 15th.  The tournament was very successful, not only measured by the nice feedback received from the players, but also from the table count.  After several years of declining table counts, this year the regional had 836 tables in play, up from the 777 tables in play in the prior year.  The SOMBA board hopes to see this trend continue.  Many individuals helped to make this year’s event a success, and president Dave Fletcher acknowledged the terrific contribution made by the entire SOMBA board.  During a break in the Sunday Swiss, Dave presented trophies to all of the Ace of Spades, Mini-McKenney, and SOMBA- sponsored tournament winners.  The annual Goodwill Award was presented to Vickie Vallone.

A total of 4553 masterpoints were awarded to 620 different players.  The SOMBA board congratulates the following top 20 masterpoint winners:
1 77.64 Michael Kenny, Aurora ON
2 77.64 Jonathan Steinberg, Toronto ON
3 61.95 Michael McDonald, Rochester Hills MI
4 55.31 Joe Monro, Beverly Hills MI
5 50.24 Michael Cafferata, Markham ON
6 50.24 David Colbert, Etobicoke ON
7 48.22 Michael Crane, Canton MI
8 47.93 Marjorie Michelin, Laguna Woods CA
9 46.23 Zachary Wasserman, Farmington Hls MI
10 44.76 Hans Jacobs, Brighton ON
11 44.34 Bert Newman, West Bloomfield MI
12 43.45 Frank Treiber III, Toledo OH
13 43.22 Debra Eaves, Northville MI
14 42.59 Sondra Schubiner, Franklin MI
15 42.31 William Winokur, West Bloomfield MI
16 40.78 Sheldon Kirsch, West Bloomfield MI
17 37.56 Lynne Schaeffer, West Bloomfield MI
18 36.62 Jonathan Fleischmann, Bloomfield MI
19 36.21 Bob Webber, Waterford MI
20 35.03 Michael Huston, Joplin MO

SOMBA Board Elections

SOMBA Board elections will wrap up on Sunday, November 13th, at the Apple Cider Sectional. Seven positions will be open. Please advise Dave Fletcher, Deepak Dighe, or Posh Gulati if you would like to be a candidate 
  • Additions to the ballot will be closed August 23rd.
  • Pictures and bios will be due no later than August 30th.
  • Counting will be concluded and the results announced on November 13th.
  • Ballots will be accepted at the Apple Cider Sectional November 10-13.

State of the Unit (203 SOMBA)
by Dave Fletcher

Hello to all our SOMBA members. The first six months of 2016 have been a very busy time for your unit board members. Before I go on I would like to remind all of you of our website which includes great articles, pictures, and reference information. Please visit the site at www.sombaunit203.org. The site does include an online directory on which you may be added to by requesting and completing a form. This is necessary due to the responsibility of the site to protect your information. Instructions on how to be added is found on the website under "Member Drectory" at the top of the page.

We have had three board meetings to date–January, April, and May (minutes on this website).

We have run three tournaments–Valentine Sectional, Springtacular I-N, and Wolverine Regional.  All very successful for attendance and financials

We have conducted two events to attract new members–Bridge the Gap and Learn Bridge in 5 Hours.

We also conducted a 3-hour session to sanitize and refurbish 250 SOMBA-owned bidding boxes. 

Committees are in place to review purchase of dealing machines and card tables.

There is also a committee that is dedicated to membership and one dedicated to helping our clubs be successful.

Here is a list of our board members and their responsibilities:
Dave Fletcher–President*
Kathy Twomey–Vice President*
Jerry Hasenjager–Treasurer*
Deepak Dighe–Secretary*
Posh Gulati–Chairman*
Satish Shah–Tournament Coordinator*
Lori Briscoe–Public Relations and Communication
Bill Goodman–ACBL Contact and Insurance
Jane Hall–Education and Lectures
Janis James-Rubin–Newcomers
Naresh Kapila–Storage and Asset Management
Bill Landrum–Website Management
Scott Miller–Club Relations
Lynn Root–Hospitality
Lakshmi Vora–Awards
     *Executive Committee Member

Non-board member contributors:
Tony Savant–Website Manager in Training

Note that officers are elected annually in January and committee assignments are made then as well.

This fall, eight of our members terms of office will be expiring and we will be conducting an election ending at the November Apple Cider Sectional. We are open for nominations and would love to have you join our great team. Speak to one of our board members if you have interest.

Merger–An issue that has involved much of our time is a proposed merger with our neighbor unit 137 (MBA). It has proven to be quite complicated with many debatable pros and cons. MBA’s Table Talk has on two occasions documented progress and Posh Gulati mentioned it at our May Regional. On May 25, 2016 the board held a special meeting to specifically make a recommendation. After hours of discussion it was decided as your representatives we could not at this time agree there are enough benefits to outweigh unknowns, to merge at this time. An overall theme was that things don’t seem to be broke so lets not fix it. Specifics of the discussions may be found in our minutes on this website. At this time your SOMBA board has voted not to merge and to discontinue talks of such for the near future. We do however intend to work together with MBA to continue to build a better overall bridge community in our area.

As always we want and appreciate your inputs on all matters and concerns. I would encourage you to seek out a board member to share your ideas and issues. Our job is to serve our membership.

Dave Fletcher. 586-206-6556, hdfletch@aol.com

Suggestions Turned in at Wolverine Regional

In an effort to improve the tournament experience for our members, the SOMBA board solicited opinions from players at the Wolverine Regional.  The following suggestions were received.  The SOMBA board has considered them and offered their responses (in italics). 
  • The tables are too small and rickety.  SOMBA will have different tables next year. 
  • The cards are sticky.  The directors will replace any decks you feel have seen their day.  Just ask. 
  • Check bidding boxes for missing bids.  SOMBA cleaned all the bidding boxes the week before the tournament.  Bidding cards were replaced when worn and many one-club and pass cards were also replaced.  At the same time, we checked for any missing bids.  We are sorry we missed a few. 
  • Have a 50/50 raffle.  The SOMBA board will review for logistics and purpose. 
  • The director warned a player when I called for a zero tolerance issue.  Shouldn’t there be penalties?  The directors were advised that it would be preferred if they used their strictest approach.  Board match points were taken away for several incidents.  Although every call involves the director’s discretion, we will continue to remind them we want actions that prevent future zero tolerance issues. 
  • Please call each round so as to keep the game moving, even if it results in late plays.  We will request this of the directors for future tournaments.
  • Two session events should occur with a sufficient break, such as 1 pm and 6:30 pm.  Tournament committees constantly struggle with the times and kinds of events to have for each tournament.  Efforts are made to provide the best variety of events and to consider traffic and opportunities to eat.  We have not yet found the perfect combination. 
  • Why does the Costick Activities Center close and clean restrooms during play time?  We will ask if the cleaning staff could do this during our major breaks.

Bill Landrum

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